30 April 2014

Vassago Optimus Ti Lightweight Adventure Racing Bike with Rohloff SPEEDHUB 500/14

Racing for 72 hours straight through the jungles of South America on mere hours of sleep is not for the faint of heart. It’s also a task that not just any bike can handle, which is why the members of Team Odyssey Adventure Racing are big proponents of the Rohloff SPEEDHUB 500/14. Recently, more and more members of the Virginia-based race team have been exchanging their derailleur systems in favor of the SPEEDHUB because of its durable and low maintenance design. In the extreme conditions of adventure races, drivetrain issues can mean the difference between a winning effort and dropping out of the race. We built this titanium Vassago Optimus Ti for a Team Odyssey member to get him through his races comfortably and reliably.

24 April 2014

Co-Motion Klatch Fitness Road Bike with Rohloff SPEEDHUB and Belt Drive

We built this Co-Motion Klatch as a fitness-oriented road bike for a customer who wanted a comfortable, reliable bike to tackle the many great road rides around his hometown of Santa Rosa, California. His priority was simply to ride often, and the bike needed to stay out of the bike shop and on the road as much as possible. He was looking for a sporty-feeling bike that would motivate him to enjoy the outdoors and stay in shape. We were tasked with creating a Rohloff SPEEDHUB and Gates Carbon Drive-equipped road bike with durable components that would withstand plenty of hard riding, all within a lightweight package.

14 April 2014

Spot Honey Badger Mountain Bike with Schlumpf Mountain Drive Crankset

Singlespeed mountain biking has gained a devoted following in recent years, as more and more riders have been thinking outside the box and opting for simple, stripped-down bikes that let them focus solely on the experience of the ride. The flipside of that simplicity is that the gearing limitations of a singlespeed just don’t suffice on some trails, especially in steep hilly areas. We put together this belt drive Spot Honey Badger for a customer who told us he enjoyed singlespeeding but needed a gearing boost to get up the steeper hills on his local trails in Santa Rosa, California. We added a Schlumpf Mountain Drive to give him an ultra-low gear to get up the most extreme grades on the trail while still retaining the simple singlespeed aesthetic and belt drive compatibility.

Spot’s Honey Badger is designed as a comfortable, capable trail bike, with a good combination of stability and responsiveness. Like all of Spot's bikes, the Honey Badger was designed to be compatible with a belt drive system. Interchangeable dropouts allow for single speed/internal gear hub or derailleur use. The dropouts slide to adjust chain or belt tension with a single speed/internal gear hub or to adjust wheelbase with a derailleur. The steel frame has a few interesting features that set it apart from most hardtail frames, including curved seatstays and a time-trial style cutaway seattube that flex to provide some compliance and make the ride more comfortable. The downtube is also stamped into a wave design where it meets the headtube, creating a stronger weld that serves as a strengthening gusset. Overall, the frame is designed to be as versatile and robust as its namesake Honey Badger, a weasel-like animal with extremely tough skin that roams the plains of Africa.

This customer wanted to retain the same essential feel of singlespeed riding while also eliminating the hike-a-bike portions of his ride that were necessary with only one gear. To meet his criteria we installed a Schlumpf Mountain Drive, which has a 2.5 reduction ratio, to offer a low gear for super steep climbing. To shift to the low gear, a rider simply has to tap a button in the middle of the right side crank arm with their right heel. To shift back to the high gear, the rider taps a matching button on the left crank with their left heel. This heel-activated shift system eliminates the need for a shifter and cable on the handlebars, keeping the bike’s cockpit uncluttered.  It also provides a simple, adjustment free option for changing gears.

The bike comes stock with a Gates Carbon Drive belt drive, which was a priority for our customer. He loved the fact that the belt drive system lasts at least twice as long as a chain and doesn't require any maintenance aside from periodic silicone spray to resist squeaking in dry, dusty conditions. For mountain biking in particular, the belt drive is ideal because muddy and dusty trails can take their toll on a conventional chain much quicker than on the road.

If you’re interested in a Schlumpf-equipped mountain bike of your own, contact us to start a conversation about what type of bike is best for you. We have installed Schlumpf cranksets on just about any type of bike, including mountain, commute, fixed gear, cargo, and recumbent bikes/trikes. Schlumpf units can also easily be combined with a Rohloff SPEEDHUB to create even more gear range for people riding steep hills or carrying heavy loads.

Build Details:

• Frame: Spot Honey Badger
• Fork: Manitou Tower Comp 29er
• Headset: FSA integrated
• Stem: Truvativ Stylo T20
• Handlebar: Spot 700mm
• Shifter: N/A
• Grips: WTB
• Seatpost: Truvativ Stylo
• Saddle: WTB Pure V Race
• Seat Clamp: Spot
• Front Hub: Sun Ringle Charger
• Rear hub: Sun Ringle Charger
• Spokes: Wheelsmith J bend
• Nipples: Wheelsmith
• Rims: Sun Ringle Charger
• Tires: WTB Bronson 29x2.2”
• Cranks: Schlumpf Mountain Drive
• Pedals: Shimano XTR
• Bottom Bracket: Schlumpf Mountain Drive
• Chain ring: Gates Carbon Drive
• Rear Sprocket: Gates Carbon Drive
• Chain: Gates Carbon Drive
• Brakes & Levers: Avid Elixir 5
• Rotors: Avid

03 April 2014

Rohloff-Equipped Civia Hyland Adventure Road Bike

We showcase a lot of new Rohloff-equipped bikes on The Monkey Lab, but we also do Rohloff retrofits and refurbs on existing bikes from time to time. This Civia Hyland was originally built for a friend of ours for commuting and wet weather road rides. He has been thinking about replacing the frame but hasn't found something he likes better yet, so he decided to redo his existing bike to make it new and exciting again before taking off on a "credit card tour" down the California and Oregon coasts this summer. We outfitted the bike with a shiny new paint job, a brand new hydraulic disc brake system, a fresh wheel build, and a handful of other component upgrades.

The frame is the now-discontinued Hyland model from Civia, which was originally conceived as a higher-end commuter with well-though out geometry and design details like the heavily manipulated tube shapes that hide brake and shift cables, including the cables for the Rohloff SPEEDHUB. It was one of our favorite off-the shelf commuter options for using a SPEEDHUB. Civia sold their complete bikes as flat bar commuters, but our friend prefers to use drop bars, which turns the bike into an ideal comfort-oriented road bike. Over the past several years, he has ridden the bike back and forth to work and on longer rides and likes the geometry and handling. Based on his time on the bike, he knew it would be able to comfortably handle his upcoming trip.

The frame was originally a matte navy blue color with mostly silver parts and Avid BB7 mechanical disc brakes. Our friend decided to change the color to a flashier, hot rod-style paintjob in shiny candy apple red and swapped some of the silver parts for black, including powder coating the cranks. The mechanical disc brakes were also swapped for a hydraulic system from TRP for improved power, control, and lever feel.

The original wheels had silver spokes and nipples, Velocity Deep V rims, Rohloff SPEEDHUB in the rear, and a Hayes by DT Swiss hub in the front. For the refurb, our customer decided that black rims and spokes would look better with the red paint job, so we rebuilt the wheels using the same hubs with a pair of Velocity’s Dyad rims and black spokes. The Dyads are wider than most road rims and are strong enough for moderately loaded touring. We finished off the wheels with Sapim Race spokes and brass nipples, and installed a pair of Continental’s flat-resistant Duraskin K tires to keep flats to a minimum. The resulting wheelset is well-suited for commuting, light touring, or comfortable road rides.

The Rohloff SPEEDHUB has developed a reputation as the ideal drivetrain for touring or long distance riding. The 14 speed internal shift system uses very robust gearwheels that mesh together in different combinations to produce the varying gear ratios. The gear wheels are nearly impossible to break and do not wear down because they sit in a sealed oil bath within the hubshell. As a result, the SPEEDHUB is one of the most durable shift systems available, and favored by touring cyclists who may not cross paths with a mechanic or bike shop on their route. Tellingly, there are SPEEDHUBs from the original production run still on the road, having logged nearly 120,000 miles.

Along with the changes, our friend maintained a few parts from the previous build. The full coverage fenders will keep him dry in the event of rain, and the rear rack will allow him to carry some gear. He plans to stay in motels each night on his tour, so he needs to have enough room to carry a few changes of clothes but doesn’t need room for much food or a full set of camping gear.

When the build was complete, our friend said he was newly energized for his tour and now can’t wait to get out on the road. If you’re looking for a lightweight touring or commuting build with a nearly indestructible drivetrain, contact us to see what Rohloff-specific build we can put together for you.

Build Details:

• Frame: Civia Hyland
• Fork: Winwood Muddy Disc Cross
• Headset: Hope
• Stem: Easton EA90
• Handlebar: Easton EA70
• Shifter: Rohloff
• Grips: Black bartape
• Seatpost: Easton 
• Saddle: Shimano PRO Turnix
• Seat Clamp: Salsa Liplock
• Front Hub: Hayes Elite by DT Swiss
• Rear hub: Rohloff SPEEDHUB 500/14
• Spokes: Sapim Race
• Nipples: Sapim Brass
• Rims: Velocity Dyad
• Tires: Continental Gatorskin 700x28c
• Cranks: Shimano Ultegra
• Pedals: Look Keoblade Carbon
• Bottom Bracket: Shimano Ultegra
• Chain ring: Surly stainless steel 48t
• Rear Sprocket: Rohloff
• Chain: Rohloff SLT 99
• Brakes & Levers: TRP Hylex
• Rotors: Avid Cleansweep
• Extras: Elite water bottle cages, rear rack, fenders